EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

BACKGROUND

Large-scale manufacturing of liquid crystal flat-panel displays (LCDs) by Japan brought the world's attention to the existence of an enormous market potential that exists when there are alternatives to the cathode ray tube (CRT). The LCD led to the laptop computer, many hand-held instruments, and other devices never dreamed of prior to development of the lightweight, flat- panel display. There is a vast remaining market awaiting development and manufacture of such things as low-power displays without backlights, flicker-free paper-like displays for high- quality text, head-mounted displays, head-up displays, large flat displays, and high intensity projection systems. There are many display technologies in various stages of development to satisfy these needs. Under the support of the National Science Foundation and the Advanced Research Projects Agency, WTEC visited Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus in search of new technology.

The breakup of the Soviet Union opened laboratories of research and development facilities previously inaccessible to the West. Zelenograd is an example: An entire city with a military mission did not even appear on earlier maps, yet it is filled with state- of-the-art electronic technology. Of more significance, technology in the countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU) is becoming available to the West, and FSU companies are seeking partners, investment, and manufacturing opportunities. Research directors, inventors, company officers, and government and university officials display great enthusiasm for entering the commercial world, finding markets, competing, and in general participating in the excitement of today's flat-panel technology. In "Business Prespective" of the main report, Dr. Marko Slusarczuk reports on the opportunities and problems involved in technology transfer with FSU institutes and companies.

The search for more display technology is but one reason for the study of display technologies in the former Soviet Union. A second reason is more generally tied to issues of U.S. competitiveness. Japan reminded the United States of the importance of a strong manufacturing base. The disintegration of the Soviet Union teaches yet another lesson, that is, the disaster that results when a strong national education and research program is not closely tied to manufacturing. In Liquid Crystal Display Materials and Related Technologies of this report, Dr. Patricia Cladis recalls a most appropriate quote by Hayek: "We must build where we live. When a country loses the know-how and expertise to manufacture things, it loses its capacity to create wealth -- its financial independence. When it loses its financial independence, it starts to lose political sovereignty."

SUMMARY OF REPORT

WTEC undertook this study expecting to find little activity in manufacturing. The WTEC program's interests were primarily in new technology, different approaches, and innovations from a country that led the world in space exploration, submersibles, undersea technologies, and other areas of science and science education. The WTEC committee, consisting of six panel members and five additional traveling observers, derived most of its information from visits to thirty-six sites in three different FSU countries: Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. WTEC committee members visited institutes, universities, companies, and former military establishments, interviewing key technology and industrial leaders, and, where possible, observing working displays. A summary of major impressions follows.

Projection Systems

Clearly, the most exciting developments were in the projection systems found at several different locations. A key innovation found at sites near Moscow is the "quantoscope," an e- beam pumped laser. The electron beam pumps a semiconductor- resonant cavity that stimulates localized laser emission out of the other side. Scanning the e-beam also scans the laser, making it an excellent candidate for laser projection; high intensity red, green, and blue (RGB) colors yield an impressive demonstration on a theater-sized screen. This device was developed at three sites near Moscow: Rosich and Co., Ltd., Platan at Fryazino, and the Lebedev Institute of Physics. The device has caused excitement because of its potential for use in projection systems, medical applications involving cancer therapy, visual approach slope indicators (VASI) at airports, and photographing fast events such as interferometric visualization of shock fields around projectiles. This product is of great interest to U.S. developers; however, the question of intellectual property rights concerning the device is apparently confusing. The technology requires further work such as developing blue emitters, finding an economical method to cool the cavity, and extending the lifetime of the emitter. Development of device infrastructure, such as crystal growth, material formulations, and e-beam technology, are for the most part contained in the companies involved.

Another innovation relates to CRT projection. Platan showed some unique multiple beam CRTs for large-screen projections, including a projection system on a 6 m diagonal screen with a brightness of 30 cd/m2 with 625 lines. Platan researchers have also given attention to projection TV for homes with compact packaging and special amplification screens.

The WTEC committee visited several sites where LCD projection focused on laser-addressed systems. The Vavilov group at St. Petersburg reported activity on ferroelectric liquid crystal (FLC) projection devices, and Rosich claimed a liquid crystal photoconductor laser-addressed light value system with a resolution of 1,000 lines and an output of 1,000 lm. Scientists at Rosich also have designed an innovative light concentrator that is used in their projectors.

Liquid Crystal and Other Nonemissive Displays

In Liquid Crystal and Other Nonemissive Displays of this report, Dr. Zvi Yaniv evaluates and gives a thorough report on liquid crystal displays in the FSU with emphasis on cell design and manufacturing issues. The WTEC team found several innovations in LCD technology, and in a few cases saw completed advanced displays close to manufacturing; the team saw a- Si and p-Si active matrix displays at Planar in Russia and Integral in Minsk. The team was impressed that both a-Si and p-Si appeared at the same site, at Platan. It is Dr. Yaniv's opinion that with suitable investment, Platan could quickly rise to the level of the U.S. company Optical Imaging Systems (OIS).

A well-integrated group dedicated to the metal-insulator-metal (MIM) active matrix (AM) is located in Minsk. Largely championed by workers at the Radioengineering Institute, this activity involves several different companies, institutes, and universities in the Minsk area: the company Integral, a large electronic conglomerate that once served much of the Soviet Union; Planar, a leading FSU equipment producer for the microelectronic industry; the Sevtchenko Institute of Applied Physics Problems, a group that supplies liquid crystal material, color filters, and optical design technologies; and many other small companies. The group reported an earlier demonstration of a 320 300 color TV using MIM with contrast ratio 15:1; currently a 6" diagonal 640 400 is under development. In support of this effort, professors and scientists of the Sevtchenko Institute have developed exciting, highly resistive liquid crystal materials with large dielectric constants desirable for the MIM AM. A color filter program is in place. The well-qualified and highly-motivated scientists working on this project could develop marketable display products for the country of Belarus.

The team visiting Kyyiv [also spelled "Kiev" by some westerners] reports interest in MIM technology in the Ukraine. The company Helium in Vinnutsya is performing R&D on MIM displays, with LC materials and polarizers also coming from Ukrainian companies. Glass substrates will soon be supplied by Ukrainian firms. Volga R&D Institute in Saratov reports an interest in MIM for smectic A and nematic displays. This group also reports a- Si TFT displays with 864 lines.

The activity in manufacturing supertwisted nematic (STN) displays was surprising. Reflector, a company in Saratov, Russia, that works closely with the Volga R&D Institute, is a major supplier of STN LCD displays. Reflector produces STN displays of various sizes and uses, including laptop computers. Platan, near Moscow, also showed a large number of STN displays under manufacture, all with a chip-on-glass technology. Integral, located in Minsk, also claimed an STN line. All of the STN displays seen in the FSU were found, however, to be uncompensated.

Dr. Cladis reports on sources for other LCD-supporting materials and technologies. Synthesis and formulation of advanced liquid crystal materials were seen in all three FSU countries. The Niopik Organic Intermediates and Dyes Institute near Moscow produces liquid crystal materials and many other supportive materials, such as photosensitive monomers, that align under polarized light. Applications of these materials include buff-free alignment layers and polarizing sheets. The institute works cooperatively with groups in the Ukraine Academy of Sciences and Hoffmann-LaRoche in Switzerland. This photoaligning material recently received worldwide attention. A variant of this work using polymer liquid crystals exists at Moscow State University (MSU). The advantage of the MSU material is that it can be written and erased with polarized laser light. Niopik also showed impressive electrochromic materials. Some of the most impressive materials are organic. The company has made arrangements with a U.S. manufacturer of automobile mirrors to use their electrochromics. Two of the major FSU material developers had license agreements on liquid crystal materials with Dainippon Ltd., a Japanese liquid crystal material supplier. There was a general interest in getting Dainippon's materials into the world community even though the company was working closely with Russian display developers.

The Sevtchenko Institute showed a new color filter technology using water-soluble, negative photoresists. Western scientists should examine this process, which appears unique and simple to manufacture. Another water-soluble, organic film technology for polarizing sheets was described at the Zelenograd Research Institute of Physical Problems. In this research, LB films are studied for layering the polarizing sheet inside the display cell. This technology was also being explored for color filters. In the area of innovations supporting LCD materials, a unique material for passivation of Na+ in normal glass appeared at the Svetchenko Institute. This glass was used for STN and AM LCDs in Belarus.

A cholesteric, reflective-display technology was found at the Monocrystal Institute and at the Institute of Semiconductors of the Ukraine Academy of Sciences. The technology is similar to that being developed in the United States, except different materials are used to stabilize and modify the optical states of the material. Impressive low-resolution, reflective displays without backlights have been prototyped in the Ukraine. Their drive voltage, however, remains high, approaching 100 V.

The strongest components of the display infrastructure in FSU countries are the research institutes and universities. The scientists and students in these locations have been among the best in the world and have made great contributions to the science of liquid crystal materials. Unfortunately, many (25% in one estimate) have left the country and another large percentage now work in other fields. Strong basic research programs on liquid crystal materials are well known in such places as the Institute of Physics of the Ukraine Academy of Sciences (Kyyiv); Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Crystallography (Moscow); Moscow State University; and elsewhere.

Vacuum Fluorescent, Electroluminescent, Field Emission, and Other Emissive Displays

In Vacuum Fluorescent, Electroluminescent, Field Emission, and Other Emissive Displays by Mr. Christopher Curtin and Phosphors and Other Emissive Materials by Dr. Jan Talbot a number of emissive technologies found in the FSU are described. The e-beam pumped laser at Platan, where the visiting team also discovered a very strong phosphor materials group, has already been mentioned. The Platan group featured unusual materials such as phosphor-encapsulated polymers used for converting ultraviolet (UV) radiation to the 610-700 visible region that is useful for plant growth (chlorophyll absorption). The group visiting Saratov found a strong effort in vacuum-fluorescent displays (VFD) at the Volga R&D Institute, with manufacturing of large quantities done at Reflector. VFD displays developed at Volga ranged in size up to a maximum of 640 480 lines and columns. Phosphor development in Volga places emphasis on low-voltage phosphors in the range of 4-20 V. Volga develops the phosphors that are mass- produced in Stavropol. At the time of the WTEC team's visit, the VFD manufacturing line at Reflector consisted primarily of Japanese production equipment. Reflector claims several technical advantages, including low- voltage structures that provide very high brightness and lifetimes of approx. 100,000 hrs with multicolor capability.

Research on electroluminescent (EL) display technology occurs at several sites in the Moscow region and Kyyiv. Interesting work at the Moscow State Institute of Electronics and Mathematics (MSI) deals with the ergonomics of EL displays, some of which are old EL devices used in manned spacecraft that were shown to the WTEC team. The team saw considerable work on aircraft displays at high brightness levels, and a novel description of a filter mask to control cockpit glare. A supplier of EL displays is located in Kyyiv. A number of different sizes are produced based on ZnS:Mn materials (yellow).

The team saw work on field emission displays (FED) at three sites in the Moscow region and at Saratov. Panel members observed small FED prototypes with silicon and carbon emitters. The team found work on light-emitting diodes (LED) in two locations. The company Sapphire Research and Production Amalgamation in Moscow manufactures a broad range of incoherent LED devices, including LEDs, arrays of LEDs, and dot matrix and alphanumeric indicators. Research is conducted on blue-emitting and UV-emitting diodes. Efforts to use UV emitters to stimulate emission from a phosphor were reported at Sapphire. The St. Petersburg team visited Positron Research and Manufacturing Corporation (see Giricond site report, Appendix C). Discussion at this facility focused on III-V devices and a number of ultra high- power infrared-emitting devices.

Business, Infrastructure, and Other Perspectives

The FSU is undergoing an expensive industrial revolution from a formerly military-commodities complex to a more balanced industrial-military-commodities complex that shares similarities with the large-scale reorganization and downsizing of large corporations. It is now restructured into competing countries rather similar to the business unit model. Since it is now without most of its former prime manufacturing bases, it cannot support the large amount of R&D it once did. The FSU now has a large educated workforce that is out of work and looking for new opportunities. Dr. Cladis introduces some of these issues in her report on liquid crystal technologies, giving a broader perspective on the rationale for evaluating display technologies in the FSU at a time when U.S. competitiveness in this market is of concern. In the former Soviet Union, a central planning bureau provided the required components and resources to accomplish manufacturing goals; there were design bureaus, that is, prototyping bureaus coupled with simple industries to form a giant enterprise. There was no market infrastructure to support these various functions. In the emerging market economy, many managers are faced for the first time with elements of a market-based economy and a western business process with which they have had no previous experience. In Infrastructure of this report, Dr. Jim Larimer provides anecdotes that illustrate some of the business problems encountered by U.S. and other foreign companies and individuals attempting to form business relationships in the FSU. An overview of the flat-panel display infrastructure covers education, R&D, supporting industries, transportation, and other components. Dr. Slusarczuk reports on business perspectives. His chapter at the end of the report, Business Prespective, provides useful documentation on how to get information, get there, and get around. He reviews problems and intellectual property issues, and leaves the reader with helpful hints for concluding a deal. This final chapter gives the report a completeness necessary for a useful document on flat- panel display technology in the FSU.

ISBN 1-883712-36-X


Published: December 1994; WTEC Hyper-Librarian